Hallmark leaves Country Club Plaza and the question is raised - Is Country Club dead? Radio Shack is closing 1100 stores. Staples is closing 225 stores. Shopping malls have huge vacancies. What is happening?
It was made clear to me in an interview I saw on a news show with a retail expert. He explained that no new shopping mall had been built since 2006. Malls across the country are struggling to keep or attract tenants. We see it all the time as we drive down the road - large numbers of vacant storefronts and dying shopping strips and malls.
The reason for the closing of brick n mortar stores is the ever increasing reliance on internet shopping.
This worries me because the fact is, retail provides a huge number of jobs, especially at the lower end of the pay spectrum. Retail provides great opportunities for part-time work or secondary incomes. Like fast food, they are great first jobs for young people. Retail jobs are immensely important to the local economy.
In fact, local retail jobs also are important for the taxes of the City or County they are in. The sales taxes of retail purchases fund our social services such as police, fire, schools, and more.
It's a troubling trend. Understandable, yet troubling. After all, I love using Amazon myself. And if you have Prime, the shipping is not an issue anymore. It's now all a matter of convenience.
The brick n mortars can't compete with the low prices that are possible by online comparison shopping. And if you can't find something locally, of course you rely on the internet.
Is it any wonder the economy is slow to recover?
I have no solutions or suggestions myself. But I thought it was important for people to begin thinking about. What are your thoughts and what can we do with all those empty storefronts?
Update: Discovery of website Deadmalls.com.